Monday, July 13, 2020

COVID and Tyler II

It doesn't seem like 2 months since I've posted here.  In a strange way, we are experiencing a "Groundhog Day" type of vortex in this world.  Our calendar remains mostly bare of engagements and appointments.  Outside of brief visits with close family and close neighbors there is not much of a social life. 

Tyler remains in constant quarantine at his residential home.  We have not seen him since the end of February, which at times seems like years ago.  He is doing "just ok" but I think the isolation is beginning to rack his nerves, as it would anyone.  The amount of outside socialization can't be good for him, and even fresh air and exercise seem more difficult to come by.  His staff and the agency are doing an amazing job protecting his well-being, as well as the health of his staff.  It's all they can do right now.

COVID has been unique in that most problems stemming from it have no clear answer.  The most notable I find is the argument of health versus economics.  This is not a new thing....workplaces and households make these kind of decisions all the time.  Our workplace could always spend more money making things safer but at some point if the company can't make a profit it won't matter anyway.  COVID is different as it is turning these decisions into true life-or-death propositions.

Tonight our school board will be deciding how to resume school in the fall.  Most parents have voiced that we need to get the kids back to school and start getting things "back to normal".  Unfortunately, this ignores the undeniable fact that the virus is actually thriving and not dying.  We are hearing people justify the decision by saying how kids do not seem to get it as bad as adults.  The problem is we truly DON'T KNOW how this effects children long term.  Most schools were closed and children quarantined very early on.  We are also just finding evidence that those who have even mild symptoms are experience long term effects that were not seen before. 

The other infuriating denial statement is something like "well, its only elderly people that seem to be dying from this".  First, this is not true.  Secondly, people that are vulnerable are not expendable.  By sending children to school full time we will be jeopardizing loved ones that we should be protecting.

So...I'm going to document how I see this going over the next few months and we can see how close I get:

Most schools will vote to re-open fully with the foolish notion that they can use social distancing and masks.  Have you ever tried to get a kindergartner to eat peas?  Try keeping the mask on them every day all day.  Try not having them touch other kids.  By day 3 they will be licking each others faces and making bubbles with their snot.  Many schools, lets say within the first 8 weeks, will begin reporting positive cases, some a handful, others a full outbreak.  Emergency meetings will be held and schools will close back down.  Unfortunately it will be too late and older administration and family members will fall ill as well by the time we take action.  We may even find out more effects it has on children than we knew before.  It will be March all over again but now we will have already lost people due to the rush to become "normal" again.

I pray I'm wrong....but I doubt that I am.  We are ready to gamble lives for the sake of normalcy, selfishness, economics, and saving political face.  Exactly all the wrong reasons.

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Monday, May 18, 2020

COVID-19 and Tyler

The first and most important thing to point out is that Tyler, his staff, and his housemate are all safe and sound from the virus so far.  His agency has done an amazing job, and the staff are HEROES without question for the safety and love they are currently providing.  We are blessed beyond measure that so far the family has remained healthy.  My most sincere thanks go to those people on the front lines trying to keep us all safe, fed, and entertained during such a difficult time period.  Bless all of you.

It has been about 3 months since we have seen Tyler.  The number one concern right now is to protect those that need extra protection.  Tyler cannot protect himself from the virus, so we must step up and do the right things for him.  He understands that his routine has been shot, and people around him are wearing masks, but he doesn't understand why.  Fortunately time is a concept he doesn't fully grasp, so he may not realize just how long all this has been going on.

But we do.  We miss him every day.  We want him to know that we are still here for him and that we still love him as much as ever.  

For me, this brings into play a truth that I will probably never be able to live with....I can't fully protect him.  No matter how diligent we all are, no matter how great our staff is, and no matter how much we plan for every scenario, we can only do so much.  I'd like to be able to say that doing the best we can is enough to be able to sleep soundly at night, but it isn't.  The cold hard fact that this virus has shown us is that when a person is truly vulnerable there are things in the world that can get to them no matter what.  

For years, even before Tyler left home, I've suffered from recurring nightmares about him.  The settings change but the theme remains the same, something is happening to him and I cannot save him.  Sometimes we are in a body of water and he is sinking and the realization that I can't keep him and I afloat at the same time.  Sometimes we are crossing a road and for some reason I can't get him out of the middle of the road.  I don't think the dreams play out completely, they just center on my fear of being helpless to protect him.  The virus feels like this scenario playing out in real life.  Its invisible, and in some cases unstoppable.  For people with special needs and their staff, there is no way to completely isolate themselves.  The care of their individuals have to come first, even if it makes them more susceptible to getting sick.  Its a no-win situation.

For the time being, we can only pray for everyone's safety and make the best choices we know how to make.  We have to thank all of those people that are enduring additional hazards in order to protect our loved ones.  And we have to hope that our worst nightmare confines itself to our sleep.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Sam's View on COVID-19 and Tyler

Hello Everyone, my name is Samantha and if you don't know me here is a quick summary: I am Tom's daughter and Tyler's little sister. I am 11 years old and today I will be talking about COVID - 19 and how it is effecting me. So to start off it has made me not be able to see my brother for one thing and I can not see him for my birthday. My birthday is in April and that is coming up so I won't be able to see him for this special occasion. But on the other hand I miss Tyler so much. I mean, not seeing your brother in almost a month is sad because he is family and it is sad not to see someone you love for so long, and it breaks my heart to say I may not see my brother for the rest of the year. And I know that some kids complain about their sibling in these unfortunate times but you should be thankful for them because Tyler is all I have as a sibling, so when I have no more school work to do I don't have a clue what I want to do because I have no siblings. So all the children out there who complain about there siblings they should not in these times, because we all need each other so we should be working together and defeat this stupid virus. We need to be family like we are right now because we need everyone's help in not spreading the virus anymore, so wear your masks, wash your hands and sanitize every time you touch something such as ....... doorknobs, handles, karts, anything. You need to stay safe and stay healthy please please please please stay safe and listen to the 3 H




Hope you enjoyed today's blog I hope all of this will be all over soon please stay healthy and happy and at home you and I need to stay safe.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What If

What if tomorrow we had our last
And our future suddenly met our past
What if we didn't have another day
And a bigger plan now blocked our way

What if our dreams have met their end
Without a daydream left to spend
And those we did not quite achieve
Laid broken for our souls ro grieve

What if we left some things unsaid
And did not bury things long dead
What if we failed to mend a hurt
Before we filled the hole with dirt

What if this was the final call
Would we step up to answer all
What if our judgement day was here
Are we righteous people without fear

Did we live our lives without regret
And love the others that we met
Did we make the most of every day
And help those lost to find the way

What if tomorrow all was lost
And we had to pay the final cost
Would we say we saw it all
Or would just accept the fall

If you feel you forgot to live
Or the blessings how we can forgive
Reach long and hard within your heart
It's not too late to embrace the start

Tomorrow is no guarantee
For anyone like you and me
So make the best of every day
And together we can find our way

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tribute To Richard Fink

Good morning.  I have a heavy heart for some extended family today.  I'd like to share some of those feelings with all of you.

Growing up in a somewhat rural area meant not having a whole lot of other kids living close to me.  However, I was blessed beyond words to have the Fink family a short distance away.  All of the kids were older than me, some significantly so, but for some reason they took me in anyway.  In many ways I became the kid brother, kind of like the ones that would suddenly show up in a sitcom once the main kids weren't as young and cute anymore.  I hung around the house for weekends and summers on end, always feeling welcome and loved.

When speaking about people, we often overuse words like "larger than life" or "one of a kind", but Richard (the Dad of the family) was truly those things.  But he was not a boisterous person, in fact he was quite the opposite.  He was genuine, honest, and quiet to some degree.  What he said had purpose.  Once you got to know him you could find a gentle side that liked to laugh and tell the tales of his experiences.  His stories would be captivating in their unbelievable nature and yet you knew they actually happened.  Once he would finish the story he would shrug and give an almost boyish giggle as though to say "I'm amazed by it too!".  Despite the simplicity he showed on the outside, there was a terrific mechanical genius on the inside.  He told me once that he would get a job at the machine shop he owned that he didn't even have a machine capable of doing.  So he would lay awake at night and picture the process needed to make this certain part and he could design a new machine in his head, and go build it. 

I was incredibly lucky to have been part of Richard's life, and the entire Fink family's life for that matter.  He was so patient and gracious having this young twerp hanging around all the time, yet I never felt he looked at it that way.  He taught me to ride dirt bikes, took me for motorcycle rides, and let me hang with him at the mountain cabin.  We bowled together for a number for a few years and he got to know my wife and son.  As the years went on, the family moved from state to state, but we still kept loosely in touch.  I last saw Richard at his 80th birthday party.  He should have been ashamed of how good he looked for that age!  We wrote a few letters.  The last we spoke was a phone call 5 years ago when we had our 25th Anniversary party.

The last few communications with him I made it a point to tell him that his friendship and willingness to essentially adopt me as one of his own was one of the most important things in my life growing up.  I hope he understood that.  I hope he understood that as I got older I looked back on that relationship with him and the entire family as a true gift that is beyond any earthly value. deserve a very special place in heaven and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for every story, and laugh, and adventure that you provided me.  God speed.  Love, Tommy.